About The Crest Academy

Crest Academy Philosophy

The Crest Academy is a learning-centered, innovative middle school, serving 5th-8th grades in Salida, Colorado. We empower students to be futuremakers that excel in school, career and life!

Happy Birthday to us!
We are celebrating our 10th year as Leaders in Project Based Learning.

We believe: "A child is not a vessel to be filled but a lamp to be lit."

We light this lamp by sharing wonder for our world and
facilitating learner-centered inquiry, innovation and by engaging in our local community.
Our work is curated, crafted and cultivated by the students, staff, and families
resulting in a school culture enhanced by all of our contributions.

While Learning through Innovation, we seek these outcomes:

  • Mastery of Academic Content
  • Critical Thinking
  • Effective Communication
  • Self-Direction
  • Collaboration
  • Life-long Learning

Instruction at The Crest Academy is:

  • Challenging
  • Engaging
  • Empowering

Our approach to learning is to create an environment that pairs real-world issues and practices, and engages students in long-term inquiry based modules.  We use design thinking and authentic community involvement, to help student's develop pride in their accomplishments and to empower them to overcome challenges.

School Culture

As a small school, we have limited resources and depend on a culture of collaboration to construct a high-functioning, learning environment.

Our group norms are practiced and expected of our students, staff and parents to allow our program to run smoothly.

Crest Norms:


We ask questions to seek understanding, learn, and meet our needs.


We assume the best of others and share kindness with our fellow community members.


We help each other by sharing our strengths, and lending a hand during hardship.


We listen with an open mind to learn from, and be respectful of, each other.


 We share responsibilities, resources, and joy in our accomplishments.


Mindsets are individual skills that are practiced and necessary for successful deep learning and participation.

Crest Mindsets:


I imagine or envision what to do next or how to figure out what I don’t know.

Contributing with positivity

I am an important part of the group because I add to it with my strengths.

Seeking solutions

If I have a need or see a need, I act to innovate a better outcome.


I can work alone and take care of my basic needs.


I think about my work and actions and how it fits the task or situation.


I want to know more about the world around me.


I want to get better at something.


I know that life takes trial and error and that nobody is perfect.  I can learn from my errors and will try again to get the results I am seeking.



Our program is a hybrid of the best-of-the-best strategies for deep learning.  Some of the terms you will hear around our halls are: project-based, place-based, service learning, workshops, problem-based, inquiry, cross-curricular, protocols, passion projects, community projects, and student designed.

Please visit this page often to learn more about our favorite inspirations and dig deeper into how we approach teaching, learning and community.

Term of the month
What is Project Based Education?

While traditional classroom practices consist of short, isolated, teacher-centered lessons, Project Based Learning (PBL) emphasizes learning activities that are long-term, interdisciplinary, student-centered, and integrate authentic, real world issues and practices.

In Project Based education students try to answer questions that have relevance to their own lives and relate to real community and world issues. They do research using a variety of resources, interview community members, conduct surveys, build models and take field trips. They work on projects over an extended amount of time (five or more weeks) giving time for in-depth investigation. Students combine many disciplines: math, literature, history, science, the arts, whatever is appropriate to the topic.

Watch this short video to learn more about the philosophy of PBL.

What is Growth Mindset?

How are you intelligent?

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